How John Chambers Taught Me ‘The Magic Of Silicon Valley’
As I think about the influences that have been most important to me in my career and my life, quite a few come to mind. I really believe you can learn something from anybody, but there are a few people who stand out. There’s my father of course—there are plenty of stories about rocky father/son relationships, but I really loved my dad — everybody did. He ran his own machine shop, where I learned to weld when I was a few years younger than I am today. It was a small business, but my dad taught me so much about meeting people where they are and relating to and respecting them as individuals.
Then there’s the leadership team that worked with me to start Ariba. They were a fantastic bunch, and they weren’t afraid to tell me how I could improve as CEO—and as a person.
But there’s one person I have been tremendously privileged to have as a close friend and mentor. That’s John Chambers, the former CEO and Chairman of Cisco. John also happened to be my first customer at Ariba and a major customer for us at DocuSign. But he’s been so much more to me than that over the years.